The North Korean leader was reportedly so furious about the deaths of the animals that he had the manager of the facility shot.
Kim reportedly lost his temper after being told that the deaths of several dozen baby turtles were due to power outages and food shortages. Pictures released by North Korean state media show Kim shouting at aquarium staff during a visit earlier this year, writes David Raven for The Daily Mirror.
Terrapin farm workers indirectly criticize Kim regime
Workers allegedly blamed the deaths of the reptiles on problems with the power supply and a lack of adequate food, both of which are common in North Korea. Kim was apparently furious at the perceived criticism of his rule, and ordered the execution of the terrapin farm’s manager, who was marched outside and shot.
According to an anonymous source “the manager was shot and killed after Kim Jong-un made his field guidance tour to the terrapin farm near Taedong River in Pyongyang.”
“He was executed because some of the tanks were not adequately supplied with food and water, leading to the death of a lot of terrapins,” the source continued.
Although the explanation that frequent power outages and insufficient food caused the deaths is perfectly viable, it could be construed as criticism of Kim’s running of the country. Reports from North Korea maintain that there are chronic food shortages, and an ongoing drought is only making the situation worse.
Executions act as a deterrent to political dissidents
Kim allegedly wanted to “set an example” for others who might dare to criticize the current situation in North Korea, and ordered the death of the farm manager.
The source added: “Some parts of the farm weren’t able to receive water in a timely manner because of the lack of electricity. That fact in conjunction with food shortages caused all the baby terrapins in the facilities to die.”
Reports of the execution add another death to the growing number that Kim has ordered during his rule. Gruesome reports of execution by anti-aircraft gun have previously surfaced from North Korea, and the Korean Institute for National Unification reports that 1,382 people have been put to death since the year 2000.
Last month Kim allegedly had the architect of a new airport executed because he did not like the proposed design. “These kind of executions are warning signals to the people, if they violate their country’s laws there will be consequences,” North Korea expert Jean Lee told VICE.
United Nations to investigate human rights abuses in North Korea
As well as executions, it is alleged that the Kim regime maintains a system of prison and labor camps in which political dissidents are held and put to work in terrible conditions, which many of their number do not survive. Allegations of human rights abuses are being investigated by a new United Nations office in the South Korean capital of Seoul.
UN officials previously claimed that human rights abuses in North Korea were comparable to those carried out by the Nazis. The setting up of the investigative office has angered Kim Jong-un, who is bitterly opposed to any outside intervention in North Korean affairs.
North Koreans trying to escape from the oppressive regime face the daunting prospect of crossing the heavily militarized border with South Korea, or attempting to cross into China to the North. A growing number of incidents and illegal crossings has provoked Beijing into sending troops to fortify the border with North Korea.